India non-committal on Sri Lanka 'war crimes'
Wednesday March 14, 2012 08:43:22 PM,
New Delhi: With
Tamil Nadu parties asking the government to back a US-sponsored
resolution on "war crimes" in Sri Lanka, India Wednesday said it
will study popular sentiments and stressed the need for "a forward
looking outcome" and to avoid meddling in Colombo's affairs.
"I would like to highlight that on such sensitive issues we will
need to consider the implications of our actions carefully. Any
assertions on our part may have implications on our historically
friendly relations with a neighbouring country," Krishna said in
the Rajya Sabha.
"We would also need to examine whether our actions will actually
assist in the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and enhance
the current dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka and Tamil
parties, including the Tamil National Alliance," he said in a
Commenting on the draft resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human
Rights Council, Krishna said: "We are engaged with all parties in
an effort to achieve a forward looking outcome that is based on
reconciliation and accountability rather than deepening
confrontation and mistrust between the concerned parties."
In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and DMK
chief M. Karunanidhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed a
similar opinion. But Jayalalithaa said she was unhappy with
Manmohan Singh's views.
Responding to queries, Krishna said India was closely monitoring
the developments and will take a view after studying the
sentiments expressed in the house.
"We will keep the parliament informed," he later told the Lok
Alluding to initiatives by Colombo to address alleged human rights
violations, Krishna said India had emphasised to Colombo the
importance of "a genuine process of reconciliation to address the
grievances of the Tamil community".
However, he cautioned against taking a stand that could be seen as
interference by Sri Lanka. Meddling in affairs of another country
was not part of India's foreign policy, said Krishna.
Krishna said India continued to push for meaningful devolution of
powers and genuine national reconciliation according to the 13th
amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution.
"We will remain engaged with them through this process and in the
spirit of partnership encourage them to take forward the dialogue
with the elected representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamils."
Krishna's comments did not cut ice with Tamil Nadu's parties.
AIADMK members walked out of the upper house in protest. DMK
members insisted that India should unequivocally support the
US-backed resolution. The Lok Sabha was adjourned for 30 minutes
over the issue.
Political parties in Tamil Nadu are angry that India is not taking
a tough line vis-a-vis Sri Lanka despite mounting evidence that
thousands of civilians were reportedly killed during the end
stages of the civil war in that country in 2009.
Krishna said a view on the US-backed resolution "will be taken as
and when the time is finalised for (its) consideration" in Geneva.
In a bid to pacify the angry MPs, Krishna said: "It is mainly as a
result of our constructive engagement with Sri Lanka and our
considerable assistance programme that a modicum of normalcy is
beginning to return to the Tamil areas."
Krishna stressed that it was the responsibility of the Sri Lankan
government "to investigate and inquire into them through a
The statement to parliament came a day after allegations of "war
crimes" sparked uproar in parliament.
Many MPs were angry after learning from leaked video footage that
Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son was
shot dead by the Sri Lankan military in May 2009.
In Chennai, Jayalalithaa Wednesday said her party was not
satisfied with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reply on this
"I am not satisfied with the prime minister's reply. There was no
commitment in the letter sent by the prime minister," she told
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